Falklands : Motion for Adjournment Speech by the Hon Mr Dick Sawle
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 05.03.2012 (Article Archived on 19.03.2012)
Mr Speaker, thank you very much, indeed. I was given a severe warning by my Honourable Colleague to my left that I have to be very short today so normally I donít pay too much attention but today I thought I would make an exception.
Motion for Adjournment Speech by the Hon Mr Dick Sawle:
Mr Speaker, thank you very much, indeed. I was given a severe warning by my Honourable Colleague to my left that I have to be very short today so normally I donít pay too much attention but today I thought I would make an exception. With this in mind I would just like to concentrate exclusively on a single matter, which is the same single subject that has been exercised in all of the media in recent weeks, namely that of sovereignty and our right to self-determination. Many people from a variety of UK Ministers, Ambassadors, our own democratically elected politicians and, most importantly, many members of our community here have been extremely active and vocal in getting our messages out and about in the international media whether that be in a variety of publications, on the radio or on television.
But what has really and truly impressed me is the complete consistency of our message. None of this is choreographed. We donít indoctrinate people in false history lessons at school. We quite rightly and simply let people decide for themselves, speak for themselves and tell it how they see it.
I think itís rare indeed to have any population in any country as united in the same way that our Falklandsí community is united. The value of all of our combined efforts has been, I think, immense. And we have seen in recent weeks, even today how public opinion even in Argentina can be changed. Many people in Argentina are now questioning, quite rightly so, the policies of the Kirchner government. There has been real progress and one of the things that has made this progress fairly simple for us has been as my Honourable Colleague Mike Summers has just said the indisputable fact that we do not spin, we do not lie and we do not mislead people. We tell it as it is Ė straight down the line.
I couldnít resist a smile when I saw Mr Timmerman and his rather odd power-point display at the UN as part of a rather feeble, I thought, and vague protest that was made. And as proof of the militarisation of the Falklands, he showed what purported to be the latest all singing and all dancing radar that has apparently just been built near Goose Green.
Well, Mr Speaker, I travelled back recently on a flight with the scientist who was responsible for the construction of this HF Radar site and it was actually built by him in 1986. And far from being Military application it actually has an entirely peaceful purpose and studies, I believe, the ionosphere rather than the disposition of hostile aircraft.
But whilst it may be amusing to see a senior Argentine politician making such a fool of himself it is, nevertheless, disturbing that the rest of the world might be taken in by it, which is why we must ensure that the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is our watchword.
Recently I also heard Simon Winchester, the ex-correspondent of the Sunday Times, say in response on the Canadian National Radio broadcast, that Argentina should be granted sovereignty over the Falkland Islands because of what he called the macho nature of the Argentine mentality. I doubt I have ever heard such nonsense in all my life. What absolute dribble!
So you would agree to hand over a country and its people to another country simply because if you donít, they will get upset.
Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, I can feel my blood pressure rising and I have no wish to seek an early grave Ė just an early conclusion and I havenít mention any of the pressing and important local issues that have been mentioned here today such as, for example the public consultation over the port, regulation of drivers for hire and reward, or even the public access to information and I make no apologies for that.
These matters, though, are important and serve to demonstrate our commitment to a democratic process that we enjoy under our self-governing, democratic system.
But today we have attending and speaking in our Assembly a man who I am honoured to call a friend, namely Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner from Wisconsin in the USA, together with my very good friend and his Chief of Staff, Todd Washam, who has been identified with a variety of posts this morning but I believe you are the Chief of Staff. You are most welcome here in the Falklands. Your trip here is very welcome indeed and all of us here place great value on your experience and input.
When I first met you I was briefed beforehand, which is always dangerous. The briefing told me that you do not suffer fools gladly and I know that to be the case. You speak from the heart and am not afraid to pass comment honestly and truly, whether that be on the size of a particular posterior or, to put it on a higher plane thoughts on the uncontrolled immigration into the USA. As a result of which, I believe you receive many personal threats.
I would also wager that very few people have managed to change a constitution and even fewer have managed to achieve that at age 16. In my briefing the point was made to me that it takes a very special person to survive over 30 years in Washington politics and there is no doubt whatsoever that I will survive that many years in political life here in the Falklands. I sincerely doubt I have that many left to me.
But Jim, I really do welcome you and your candid views to this Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly.
Mr Speaker, I wish to support the Motion.